Friday, January 8, 2021

Short Film: "Naaman and Elisha" (2013)

According to the Bible (2 Kings 5:15–19), Naaman was a commander of the army of Syria. He was a good commander and was held in favor because of the victory that God brought him. Yet Naaman was a leper. Naaman's wife had a servant girl from Israel who said that a prophet there would be able to heal him. Naaman tells his lord this and he is sent to Israel with a letter to the king. The king of Israel didn't know what to do, yet the Prophet Elisha sent a message to the King, advising that the King tell Naaman to come to see him. Elisha then told Naaman to go bathe in the Jordan seven times and he would be clean. Naaman was angry and would have left, but his servant asked him to try it and he was healed. A servant of Elisha, Gehazi, seeing Naaman being turned away from offering God offerings in thanksgiving for his healing, ran after him and falsely asked for clothing and silver for visitors. And the leprosy that had previously been on Naaman fell on Gehazi and remained in his descendants.

Christian theology depicts Naaman as an example for the will of God to save people who are considered by men as less than pious and unworthy of salvation. The Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament, uses the word baptizein for the dipping that heals the heathen Naaman from the skin disease called tzaraath. The baptism of Naaman takes place in the Jordan River where Jesus Christ was baptized many centuries later by John the Baptist. Christians have often interpreted the Naaman story as prefiguring the Christian rite of Holy Baptism.